August 20th of 2010, my girlfriend Caroline and I flew to Hong Kong on one-way tickets with a small cache of money and a huge grip of time. I was dragging a paraglider, and we both had basic kayaking and climbing gear along with basic travel necessities. Our intention was to travel overland through western China, cross through Tibet, spend some time in Nepal, and potentially travel South through India.
We were fortunate to have access to the Black Diamond apartment in Hong Kong, from which we based for the first week of our journey. Hong Kong is an excellent transition in to China. It has a strong blend of eastern and western culture, so it is foreign and exotic yet very easy to navigate as a westerner.
Standing as we were in the face of vast freedom and possibility is very overwhelming in its own way, and we found ourselves hunkering down in the apartment wondering what the hell we’d just started. But we also broke out and rolled through the crazy streets, dabbled in the vast urban wilderness that surrounds Hong Kong, and started working out our plan.
We began to line up a tour through Tibet beginning in about 6 weeks time, and mapped out potential routes through China.
While we were there, I contacted a local paraglide instructor who took us out to one of the nearby sights. The wind conditions were not very good, but I was able to kite and eventually take a short flight down to the beautiful beach of Long Ke Wan. This was my first time putting my wing in to foreign air, and I eagerly absorbed the experience.
Finally we were oriented and organized, and it was time to break out of our small comfort bubble and begin the journey.